The Christian And the Federal Election

It is a biblical principle for understanding the Bible that we should not interpret one part of the Bible in such a way that another part of the Bible seems wrong or makes no sense. This principle flows from listening to Jesus and the Bible in many other places. God is the ultimate author of the Bible. Since God is the ultimate author, there can be paradox, mystery, and nuance, but there cannot be contradiction.

This means that we should seek to read and know all of the Bible, and remember when we are interpreting one passage, that there are other passages of the Bible that we must keep in mind. For instance, we need to remember Revelation 13 when we interpret Romans 13.

Two Passages

There are two Bible passages that we do well to meditate upon in this election season. One is fashionable and one is forgotten:

  • “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7 ESV).
  • “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14 ESV).

The first text reminds us to: not despise simple earthly “goods”; to remember the Lord’s common grace; and to expand our vision of “doing good” to include involvement in the realms of commerce, government, art, culture, education, the military, and law enforcement. The latter text reminds us: to not make any earthly good into an idol; that the Lord is sovereignly moving history to the end He has determined; and to have a Gospel formed mind that is immune to the highs and lows that come from idolatry.

Practical Wisdom

I think several pieces of practical wisdom flow from these biblical texts. First, there is no clear “Christian” party or platform which is available in this election. This means that Christians can disagree, in good conscience, over who they will vote for. Many of us balk or flinch at this. But there is no clear moral issue being contested. The only available options are jockeying over matters of climate change, government spending, taxes, and similar matters.

We need to be careful of the danger of divinizing our understanding of economics or the science (or lack of science) in the matter of human-caused climate change. The Bible does not say how much debt a government can accrue, or the best combination of government spending and taxation to help the economy thrive. So Christians can differ on this.

Second, Christians should be encouraged to be involved in the election. The Bible does not set forth an economic theory, but that does not mean every economic theory or policy is equally valid or wise. So, be involved in the election, seeking the election of the best candidate, even if that means the least bad one. But while individual Christians should be encouraged to be active, I believe Churches should not endorse one party over another. Remember, Christians can disagree in good conscience.

Third, every Christian should vote! It is a great blessing, an earthly good, to live in a country where government is not changed by force of arms. Do not accept the highs and lows created by idolatry which says “there is no good candidate” or “my vote makes no difference”. Be grateful you live in Canada and not Syria or Venezuela. So please vote. If necessary, vote for the least bad party, but please vote.

Fourth, pray. Remember the book of Esther, and how one person can be used by God to turn a nation. Pray the Lord will bless us with a government far better than we deserve. Pray the Lord will provide a government that is wise at seeking the flourishing of Canada in a way that is good, just, merciful, and prosperous.

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